Monday, November 24, 2008

Artist of the Week-Lisa diStefano

There are landscapes....and then there are landscapes done Lisa diStefano's way. The Baton Rouge, LA, native "employs subtle details, respectful suggestions, and rousing textures" to create mixed media landscapes that are simply divine. I first fell in love with diStefano's work about three years ago when I saw a few pieces at Grand Contemporary in Lafayette, LA. I've wanted a painting by Lisa ever since. And after seeing the most recent offerings from Grand Contemporary in the current show with Lisa diStefano's work (on display until end of December), I really, really want a painting by diStefano...particularly the framed mixed media on paper with the blue background (shown in top picture on left)!!

When I met Lisa at the opening of the current show on November 6th, she explained that this particular series of paintings was inspired by a trip to Grande Isle, LA. As the car was moving down the road, Lisa took photographs out the window. When Lisa had the pictures developed she essentially had "abstract moving landscapes." What resulted from this experiment is a group of paintings that you know are landscapes, you can recognize the horizon, you can almost touch the marsh grasses, yet they are abstract and the mind can have fun with them and imagine being there (well, really anywhere you'd like to be, which is what makes them interesting).

In addition to the mixed media on canvas and board pieces that are typical of Lisa's work, she has done some really interesting works on paper. I recently used a piece in my room at the Lafayette Symphony Showhouse that is crayon on paper (see below photo of the piece I used). This piece is available for $800 framed and can be seen at European Classics in Lafayette, LA. Hurry and buy it so I don't!

Currently, diStefano shows at Grand Contemporary Gallery ( in Lafayette, LA, and Ann Connelly Gallery in Baton Rouge, LA. The Ritz-Carlton, Miami, and The Bellagio in Las Vegas have both recently purchased pieces for their collections. Traditional Home and Veranda magazines have both published and reviewed diStefano's work.

Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Collectors of the week..David and Hope Hebert

When I first met David and Hope Hebert, all I knew was that she was a local artist well known in Southwest Louisiana.What I didn't know I would find when I went to their house was a wonderful  collection of paintings, primarily by Louisiana artists. Fortunately, because I was hired by the Hebert's to re-design their house with them, I was lucky enough to get to consult on the art placement throughout the house. I have known the Hebert's for a year now and love seeing their collection constantly change. Hope and David are very committed to having pieces they absolutely love (not just "space fillers") so if an artist is in their collection it is because they truly admire that artists work.

David and Hope have a collection that means a lot to them. They only have original works of art and many have been purchased at charity auctions so they have been able to indulge in their passion for collecting while giving back to the community that they love so much. Hope remembers being so very excited about 15 years ago when she and David purchased their first piece of original art on a trip in New Mexico. Although she didn't know anything about the artist (Maurjo Reser), Hope fell in love with the small oil on canvas and today it has a prominent spot in the first floor guest bathroom in their River Ranch home. To this day, David and Hope agree that each has veto power on a piece and that they both have to love the piece equally for it to come home with them.

Because they purchase frequently, their collection is a revolving collection with some pieces put away at the moment while others take center stage. And some pieces go to their daughters' houses. At present, there are 60 plus pieces hanging throughout their large house. This number could swell or shrink depending on when Hope's own works go out for a show or, better yet, sell. 

In Hope and David's collection there are pieces by:
Pat Bourque (Hope's art teacher), Julie Breaux, M. Susan Broussard, Joni Domengeaux-Bayard (Hope's first art teacher), Adrian Fulton, Shanna Hebert (their daughter), Thad Morgan, Tony Mose, Mark Nikoff, John Perret, Lue Svendson, and Brooke Wilke.

And soon to join this roster of fine artists is John Palmer, whose piece Hope and David purchased at the PASA gala a few weeks ago. It hasn't even made it to their house yet, but Hope and David are already thinking of where it will be hung.

Hope and David know all of these artists personally and Hope paints with Pat, Julie, and Lue on a weekly basis-So you never know which Julie or Lue piece is coming home with Hope this week! And as a frequent guest in their home, I can't wait to see the new pieces as well!

Picture Guide:
Top:  A Julie Breaux gives femme power in Hope's office

2nd Row: A Pat Bourque gives a sense of elegance to the master bathroom

3rd Row: In the foyer, a Lue Svendson abstract (left piece) mixes well with two paintings by Hope Hebert herself

4th Row: A very famous man by Adrian Fulton and a woman by Tony Mose make a fine couple on the staircase

Bottom: A fun abstract by Shanna Hebert (the collectors' daughter) adds cheeriness to a stuffed animal filled hang out room for the Hebert's grandkids, Chloe and Clay

Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Artist of the Week...Mallory Chastant

Up and coming artist...young, energetic, talented, beautiful....Mallory Chastant.

Growing up in Lafayette, LA, Mallory began taking art classes at ULL (University of Louisiana-Lafayette) when she was 4 and can "still smell the clay and remember the first day." After graduating from St. Thomas More high school in Lafayette, Mallory attended LSU in Baton Rouge and graduated with a major in Interior Design and a minor in Architectural History, all the while painting and living in "la la land just wanting to draw and paint."

Mallory's big break came when she moved back to Lafayette after graduation and had her first show at Tsunami downtown in Lafayette. Five paintings were hung and all five sold. Since then she has constantly had work hanging in Tsunami and has been as successful as she was with her first show there. The most recent work hung at Tsunami is from Mallory's Editions 25 series of abstract acrylics on wood panels and they are fantastic! (see left photo above of installation currently at Tsunami-412 Jefferson St)

I discovered Mallory's work when Nina Ward of W Home Furnishings in Lafayette recommended I use some of Mallory's pieces in the bedroom I did at the Acadiana Symphony Show House in October. Nina had a couple of Mallory's pieces in the W showroom for me to see which just weren't quite right for my room. As I was leaving W, and forgetting about Mallory and her work, I ran into Mallory and her business partner Emily on the sidewalk. Mallory offered to take me to her studio/store (Vinyl, a very artsy graphic design/sign/banner company in River Ranch) to see more of her work........the love affair began! What I found was the absolute most perfect diptych to go over the bed in the room....(see 2nd photo above for proof). During the three week run of the show house, so many people would stop and stare at them and ask about them. And when I would say that they were by a 25 year old Lafayette native, everyone would say "She's talented..that's real talent". I am happy to say that I sold one of the two to a local Lafayette collector and it is now hung in her foyer.

Recently, Kim Mallia of Darnall, Sikes, Gardes & Frederick CPA firm in Lafayette tagged Mallory, along with Erin Chance, to participate in the Art for All Seasons show that Kim curates quarterly. Mallory has 12 pieces from her Contemporary Tye Dye Collection (the series I used in my room in the show house) on exhibit at DSG&F that range from $300-$800. These pieces will be on exhibit until mid December. To see these pieces in person, you can go to Darnall & Sikes in the new Iberia Bank Building at the corner of Kaliste Saloom and Camellia anytime they are open or call Kim Mallia at 337 739 4849 to schedule a tour of the show with Kim as your guide.

So what's next for Mallory Chastant? Surely great, great things...a show in a fantastic gallery perhaps? I'll keep you posted! Meanwhile, don't miss the opportunity to buy your favorite Mallory Chastant piece now..all good collectors know that once an artist is picked up by a gallery, the prices will go up!

You can always contact Mallory directlyat    or at

Sunday, November 16, 2008

Things to Come!

I am very excited to announce some exciting and fun changes in my life. I have longed to be in the art world in some way and to have the opportunity to merge my design experience and career with opportunities in the art world that have come my way. That time has finally come and I began as a freelance assistant gallery director at a contemporary art gallery (Grand Contemporary Gallery in Lafayette, LA) this past week ( The arts world in Louisiana is thriving and has been for so long (oddly enough Louisiana is a state that really fosters its' artists and their endeavors). 

Of course I've always loved "pretty things" but my passion for original art began when I was exposed to so many wonderful pieces of art and experiences surrounded by art when I worked for Eric Cohler Design ( to see the incredible use of art in his projects). I started collecting art myself about 6 years ago with no real rhyme or reason but just purchasing pieces that I fell in love with. Many of these pieces were purchased at various charity art auctions such as the annual Bailey House auction (which I am on the committee for), the annual GLAAD art auction, and through Acria--check out,, and for more info on these organizations. Some of the pieces were purchased from artist friends (i.e. photographer Foster Witt ( and photographer Trisha Cunningham) and some were gifts. I have loved living with every piece I have and have missed them tremendously when I have used them in show houses and they were gone from my apartment.

After living in New York full time for 8 years (and missing the South tremendously) and spending the last year or so primarily in Lafayette, LA, I decided to make Southern Artists the focus of my collection as it grows. In doing this, I have done a lot of research on artists whose work I have seen in person (or in many cases want to see in person) that I would like to have in my collection and/or in clients' collections. This research has led me to start this blog with plans of doing a weekly post on a different artist.

Each of these artists will be Southern (or live in the South) and, yes, I am including Texas as Southern (reluctantly, no doubt!). I will feature an artist, post images of the work, and tell where the artist is represented. All of this in hopes that I will give these incredible artists exposure and hopefully at some point be a representative for the artist featured.

I am very excited about this and I hope I will introduce you to artists that you love as much as I do and that one day you will have these artists in your own collections.

Expect a post next Friday or Saturday introducing the first artist...I won't tell you now who it will be but I will share with you a list of the artists I will be introducing you to over the next few weeks...

Hope Hebert
Lue Svendson
Sidney Creaghan
Maureen Dugas
Janine Collins
Eric Svendson
Foster Witt
Emily Kean
Lisa diStefano
George Marks

All the best...
Jeffery McCullough
Southern Art and Design
917 282 1880